Geraldo’s long grayish-white locks swayed back and forth to the intensely heartrending melody his fingers and heart were creating on the cello. The five-year growth of stringy hair and beard contrasted with his jet black suit he always wore when teaching Sunday School.
Each note vibrated through every inch of Geraldo’s being. Every now and then he would look up at the faces of children he saw before him. He wondered if maybe the piece he was performing was too depressing. He spied Lilly; she was smiling. She looked so proud.
The sight of a young lad, though, raising his hand prompted Geraldo to stop playing.
He looks like me when I was his age. I wonder if he appreciates Sunday School? It was so important to me.
“Excuse me, sir, but why is your song so sad?”
“What’s your name, young man?”
Jerry, that’s what my friends call me.
“Actually, Jerry, the piece is a prelude to what I want to share with you kids this morning. God can make the most beautiful music out of anything. Sometimes, though, He chooses to compose our concertos one note at a time. If we are patient and give Him enough time, He will finish a masterpiece.”
“Are you going to finish your music now, sir?”
Geraldo stared silent at the young boy he saw speaking.
I wonder if he takes cello lessons too?
Before Geraldo answered, he glanced over toward Lilly’s chair. It was empty.
She must have gone to the restroom.
He finally spoke.
“No, Jerry, this is as far as I’ve gotten. You can’t rush the Lord, you know.”
Geraldo looked back at Lilly’s empty chair. He began to panic. Tears started to well up in his eyes. He missed the way her blue eyes lit up when she saw him and her laugh when he made the gorilla face.
Geraldo’s melancholy began to close the curtains on that day’s performance.
“Jerry.” It was a kind voice, familiar.
A gentle hand rested on Geraldo’s trembling shoulder.
“You played beautifully today. I noticed you have added some since last week.”
Geraldo turned around slowly and smiled soberly.
“Thank you Pastor Jim. God has been good. I think the kids liked it. I tried to explain why it’s so sad. But, I do feel some lighter notes coming. I can’t hear them yet. But, I dreamt about them last night, rising with a morning breeze on a red and pink desert horizon, too faint to hear yet; and then I woke up.”
“I’m sure it will be beautiful, Jerry.”
“But, but, Pastor Jim, Lilly left. I think she had to go to the bathroom. Her empty chair scared me.”
Pastor Jim’s hand grasped Geraldo’s shoulder firmer while he searched for the right words.
“I think the kids have heard enough today, Jerry. But hey, your little teaching was super. I think I might use it when I preach this week. Why don’t you let me give you a ride home?”
“Thanks, Pastor Jim, I wanted Lilly to be proud.”
“I’m sure she is, Jerry, I’m sure she is.”
“Pastor Jim, I want to thank you for letting me teach Sunday School here. I think the kids are really enjoying it. And, you know, I think it’s helping me to.”
Pastor Jim let out a deep sigh.
“It’s my pleasure, Geraldo. I told the institute you could come over during the week as often as needed.”
Geraldo stood up and gathered his things. With the cello in his arms he turned to address the Sunday School class, but saw the chairs were empty. His melancholy took a respite as a brief moment of clarity leaked through to his consciousness.
“Do … the kids know … Lilly is gone, Pastor?”
“Yes, Geraldo they do.”
“Do they know about the accident and, and what I…”
“No, Geraldo. They just know Lilly is in Heaven. And they are praying for you every Sunday morning. I hope someday soon, God will finish that concerto so you can come play it for them.”
“Tell’em to keep praying, okay. I want to hear that sunrise.”
It was all the reality Geraldo could handle; he closed his eyes and shivered standing still with his head bowed, long locks covering his face. After a long breath he lifted his head up and cleared the hair away from his eyes.
“Pastor, tell Lilly I love her and I’ll be back next week.”
“I will, Jerry, I will.”
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